Researchers measured the vitamin D levels of players of the famed soccer club, Liverpool FC. Vitamin D, a nutrient the body makes in response to sun exposure, dropped significantly in the players as the season shifted from summer to winter.
A new study released by a team of researchers out of Liverpool, UK, report on the vitamin D levels of twenty soccer players who played for the city’s beloved and famed soccer club, Liverpool FC.
The report, led by James P. Morton of Liverpool John Moores University and published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, measured the levels of the players in late August of 2010 after a summer full of World Cup games, outdoor training, and retreats to the Mediterranean.
They found that players had mean levels just over 40 ng/ml of vitamin D, much higher than the national average in the UK.
However, four months into the season in December, the researchers measured the levels of the soccer players again. This time their levels had dropped significantly, down to 21 ng/ml. This drop occurred despite the players training for 90 minutes outside before noon on most days during the season.
Vitamin D plays a role in bone health, muscle function and immunity, so proper vitamin D levels could play an important part in fitness and injury prevention to soccer players.
The authors point out that in Liverpool at 53°N, sunlight is hard to come by during the winter and not intense enough to maintain high vitamin D levels during the cold season.
“In wintertime, it looks like some of these players require supplementation probably from October onwards until the end of the season,” Morton says. The season ends in May.
Improved vitamin D levels could be important for soccer players during long, cloudy and grueling seasons during the wintertime.
For a detailed look at the study’s findings, see the Council’s blog on the study.